U.S. Oil-Shale Output Seen Reaching Two-Year Low as Prices Sink

Will Oil Remain in a Trendless Market?

Oil output from U.S. shale regions is headed for the lowest level in almost two years with prices at less than half 2014 levels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts oil output from major U.S. shale regions will fall to 4.84 million barrels a day in May, the lowest level since July 2014, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The projections vary widely by region. Production in the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana may fall to 1.05 million barrels a day in May, 17 percent below the December 2014 peak. EIA forecasts May output in the Permian Basin of West Texas to be 2.03 million barrels a day, slightly less than in April. Permian production has trended upward even as crude fell.

A decline of 115,000 barrels a day in U.S. oil-shale output from April to May would be the largest month-to-month drop on record. The agency will issue revised figures based on more accurate data in coming months.

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